Friday, July 24, 2009

When You Can't Write, Maybe There's a Good Reason

On a personal note, thanks to everyone who dropped by my blog yesterday. It was great fun having so many visitors, the most visitors I've had in one day since I started this blog on April 17th. Procrastination, or the inability to sit down and write, speaks to a lot of writers.

For those who have not been writing and aren't really sure why, let me tell you how I stopped spinning my wheels this week and finally got back to work.

For some time, I've been unable to write the next chapter of my book, just absolutely could not sit down and do it. When my mind and body rebel like that, there's usually a good reason. I thought about it for days, then weeks. Finally I went back to my timeline, looked up airline, train, and bus schedules, and finally saw it. My timeline was screwed up. Something subconscious or unconscious had figured it out and was trying to let the rest of me know.

After thinking it over a little longer, I decided to pull the focus of the story back to one main character. I would cut the other viewpoint scenes and save them for another novel. I saved my WIP in a new file, so nothing would be lost. Then I chopped over 15,000 words from my manuscript. As soon as I hit the delete key, I felt lighter. I was energized. My enthusiasm for my novel is back. I'm writing again.

It wasn't writer's block. I don't believe in that anyway.It was being stuck--knowing something had gone wrong with the story, something so big it needed to be fixed before I continued. I don't usually edit as I go, so it had to be a serious flaw, one that would impact the rest of the novel. It was. It's gone now. So I'm going back to work. See you Monday. I'll be here (but don't call me because I'm unplugging that phone and moving it out of reach.)


Terry Odell said...

I think we instinctively know our stories, even if we don't plot them out all the way ahead of time.

I know I've got a couple of timeline issues to resolve - I'm dealing with three characters, and when they're not together, time gets tricky.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Best of luck with your work, Patricia.

Our subconscious is smarter than we realize!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I love those aha moments! Happy writing.

Anonymous said...

Glad you figured it out.

I often find I'm stuck when I'm trying to hard to make something work. After I let it go (delete it and save it for somewhere or something else) my writing becomes more free.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Very happy for you, Patricia. Must have been horrible wanting to dig out that ms and dig in, but just unable to do it…and not knowing why. Shudder. So, we expect lots of progress now...not to put pressure on you.

ALTERNATIVELY, could it be that very comfortable looking chair at your desk that slowed you down??? Tell me you use a cushion on that torture device.(Grin)

Oh, thank you for the Twitter call out!

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Anonymous said...

When in doubt, leave it out. That's my motto. You can always save the efits and use them for otherr stories. Kinda like a junkyard of parts you can salvage down the line when you need to replace an alternator or passenger door.

Marvin D Wilson said...

I know exactly the feeling. It's not really a "block" - more of a feeling that something is wrong and needs fixing before the story can really flow again. Yep. Been there.

The Old Silly

Helen Ginger said...

Our subconscious does seem to nag at us until we see what it knows is wrong. It often works that magic with me as well.

I love the way your desk allows the keyboard to angle. That would be so helpful!

Straight From Hel